Panic flooded through his system as he looked around. He was in a large room, with only a single throne in the middle. There was a man with long blonde hair staring down at him from the throne he sat upon. A woman stood next to him, thick streaks of blonde in her otherwise brown hair.
“Execute him.” The woman ordered. A few men came from his peripheral vision that he hadn’t noticed before. Execution? His blood stilled in fear, as he glanced around in a panic as the men came forward to take a hold of him.
“Wait!” Came a shrill voice from behind him, he turned slightly to see where the voice had come from. There was a curly-haired brunette girl, running from the back of the room towards him. His eyes widened as she stepped in front of him in a protective stance. “Your majesties, you simply can’t kill him. You haven’t given him a fair trial, what is he guilty of?”
“Miss. Granger, you dare question us?” The woman snapped at the girl. The girl looked to her.
“You may punish me as you wish later, but please spare him if he is not guilty of anything. I could teach him to clean, he would make an excellent servant if given a chance,” The girl held her hand in front of his face as she spoke to the woman. He watched through the girl's fingers as the woman crossed her arms and turned her glare to the girl.
“Boy. What is your name?” The woman asked him. His eyes widened in shock as he stared up at the woman, speechless. Was she actually going to give him a chance? “Can you not speak? Or are you just stupid enough to ignore the Queen?”
“Harry Potter, your majesty.” He looked up at the Queen. She smirked in satisfaction.
“And what, Harry Potter, was a muggle like you doing in the Malfoy Castle?” She asked him. Harry swallowed, and his throat felt like sandpaper.
“I was searching for shelter.” Harry answered. The girl turned back to look at him for a split second. Confusion flashed across her face. He recognized the look because that was how he felt, confused.
“Muggles don’t belong on the inside of the walls. You must know this. I should have you killed, but Miss Granger seems to think you’d make a good servant. I can’t help but agree.” The Queen muttered. “But know this, muggle , the cost of your life is Miss Granger’s suffering. Leave me.”
Harry stared wide-eyed at the girl. His trance on her was broken when he was hauled up on his feet by two of the men from before. He recognized them to be guards now. They lifted him easily onto his feet and threw him at a red-haired boy. He slammed into the boy and they both fell to the ground.
The redhead turned to look at the girl, who nodded at him. Harry watched their silent communication and realized they knew each other, which meant the red-head must be a servant too. The redhead grabbed Harry’s arm and dragged him out of the room as Miss Granger’s shirt was ripped open.
Harry ran down the hallway with the other boy, the girl’s screams echoing through the corridor.
Harry had so many questions for the red-head. They were sitting in an old storage room it seemed. There were three tall, thin, windows along the wall. It seemed to be the only source of light in the room, aside from a few stray candles. There were books in stacks all around the room, and a small desk with several quills in a bottle. There were several empty beds, though they seemed to be planks of wood or slabs of stone covered in sheets and a blanket.
“This is the servant’s quarters. My name is Ron. This is where Hermione and I sleep but, since she’s training you now, it’s your room now too.” The redhead muttered to him.
Hermione must have been the girl who helped him. Ron was lying on one of the beds, facing the ceiling with his arm thrown over his eyes. Harry went over to one of the three beds and sat down on it. A cloud of dust drifted out of the blanket as he sat down on it. The bed was untouched, as if it hadn’t been used in a long time.
He brushed off the dirt and patted down the pillow to remove the dust. Perhaps Hermione could teach him home how to clean beds first. He turned away from Ron and looked at the books next to his new bed. The door to the servant’s room creaked open, and his eyes widened. He quickly glanced over his shoulder to see Ron bolting out of bed and towards the door.
“’Mione!” He shrieked. Hermione collapsed in Ron’s arms, her shirt cut open from the back and dangling from her shoulders. Ron pulled her into his chest so neither he nor Harry could see her nakedness. “Harry, go to Hermione’s bed, it’s the one next to mine. Grab a shirt, and a blanket. ‘Mione, Harry’s going to hand you a blanket, okay? I want you to cover your front with it, okay?”
Hermione nodded her head in response against his shoulder. Harry rushed to grab a shirt, and a blanket from Hermione’s bed. He ran over to Ron and handed him what he’d asked for. Ron gave the blanket to Hermione, and she sniffled as she removed her shirt, and crawled further into Ron’s lap to hide. Harry noticed Ron’s cheeks tint slightly, as Hermione pressed into him. She brought the blanket up to cover her front and held it there tightly with her arms.
“Thank you, Harry.” Hermione whispered, pulling her head away from Ron’s shoulder. She looked up at Ron and smiled, despite her tears. Ron brushed some strands of hair out of her face. “There should be a cloth in a water bucket somewhere, Ron could you grab it?”
Ron nodded vigorously. He held her as he moved to get up, and when he made sure she was covered, he walked past Harry to a bucket. Harry hadn’t even noticed it was there. He watched as Ron dipped the rag into the bucket, and began to dab it onto Hermione’s back. She began to cry. Harry walked over to her, and kneeled down in front of her. She tightened her grip on the blanket covering her chest.
“Thank you for saving me, I’m sorry this happened to you.” Harry whispered to her. She sobbed as Ron rubbed a particularly sensitive spot on her back. He whispered an apology and continued. “What did they do to her?” He asked Ron. Ron motioned for him to come over, so Harry scooted to where Ron was sitting.
Harry gasped when he saw Hermione’s back. He looked at Ron, and back at Hermione. Her back was scarred over from what looked like whipping from previous punishments. Her back was bloodied, and the marks looked deep. He watched as Ron wiped the rag over the wounds again, and Hermione tensed. He noticed the slight lingering of Ron’s fingers on her skin, and looked back up at Ron.
When he finished washing her, he covered her wounds with a bandage and handed Hermione her shirt. She stood up and walked over to her bed. She sat down with her back facing the boys, and removed the blanket. Ron drew his eyes away from her, as she slipped on her bra. He knocked Harry in the head and glared at him for staring.
“Sorry.” Harry mumbled.
Hermione cleared her throat when she was dressed. “Well now, let’s have no more sadness. Harry I would like for us to talk, I want us to get to know each other. Ron too, we could stay up and talk for a bit before bed.” She smiled over at Ron, who nodded. The sun had long since gone down over the horizon, and the moon was high in the sky.
“As long as you get a good night’s sleep ‘Mione, I’m up for anything.” Ron smiled at her.
They gathered together on Ron’s bed, since he was in the middle. Harry carefully moved the candles onto a book-stand Hermione set up. They were cozied up with their blankets from their beds. They chatted about pointless things, until Hermione changed the subject.
“Why were you seeking shelter in the castle Harry?” She turned her body towards him, her back to Ron. Ron pulled her blanket softly around her back, making sure it didn’t snag on the blankets.
The smile dropped from Harry’s face, and he stared at his lap. He wondered if he should tell them. He quite honestly didn’t want to talk about it. He didn’t even know what to say, but the look in Hermione’s eyes told him that it was okay. He bit his lip, and sighed.
“I-I’m hiding, I guess you could say,” Harry stuttered. Ron leaned in, curious. Hermione nodded for him to continue. “From Lord Voldemort.” Ron’s eyes widened, and Hermione gasped.
“Harry! You could’ve at least checked a map! Why’d you come here?” Hermione whacked him on the arm. Harry grunted. Ron just stared at him.
“You’re hiding, from Lord Voldemort? Oh bloody hell, well that’s just fantastic isn’t it?” He exclaimed. Hermione elbowed him, and he grunted.
“Shut up, Ron! He was in the middle of saying something!” She turned and glowered at him. He opened his mouth, and shut it, and opened it again.
“You were the one who interrupted him first!” He furrowed his brows at her and humphed.
Harry laughed to himself, causing them to look at him. They both blushed as if they realized they’d been arguing in front of Harry. Hermione cleared her throat and nodded for him to continue again.
“He killed my parents, my whole village in fact. I’m the only survivor. He tried to kill me, so I had to run away. I don’t mean to cause trouble or anything, I just wanted a place to stay.” Hermione touched his shoulder, and brought him in for a slight hug.
“So you came to Hogwarts? What was that bloody decision all about? If Voldemort failed in killing you, these people will finish you off!” Ron whined. Hermione turned to him again, and he squeaked.
“Ron! Shut up! You do realize these walls are rather thin? How do you think King Lucius would take it, hearing you talk about him that way?” Hermione hissed. Harry glanced between the two of them.
“I mean honestly, I think he’d take it as a compliment.” Ron shrugged. He yelped when Hermione grabbed a book off of one of her many stacks, and hit him with it. “Ow! ‘Mione.” He whined. “Don’t stress your back muscles. You’ll pull the bandage off.”
Hermione sighed, and removed the blanket from around her. “I’m tired now. Both of you go to bed. Harry I hope you sleep well, we have a lot of training to do tomorrow.” Hermione glared at the boys, before slowly removing herself from Ron’s bed. Ron gently held her hand so that she could steady herself and get into her own bed. He tossed the blanket at her when she was under her sheets.
Harry climbed off Ron’s bed and into his own. It was much better than the clay and straw bed of his home, but he missed the smell of his mom’s perfume in the pillows. He wouldn’t be able to smell her perfume anymore.
Harry woke up with a groan, the sun had just come up and was shining through the thin windows onto his eyes. He sat up and looked around. His blankets had fallen off the bed, and his back ached. Hermione was already showered and dressed. Ron had just returned from the door across the hall, Harry guessed it was the bathroom. When he was washed, he dressed in spare clothes Ron gave him, and hurried out to meet Hermione.
“What time is it?” He asked her. The castle halls were empty except for a few other servants. The hallways were large, made out of stone, and warm from the sunlight that poured through the gigantic stained glass windows. Birds were chirping outside, and the cool breeze blew, through some of the cracked windows. Harry smiled, everything was silent, and he realized it was the most perfect thing he’d witnessed.
“Harry?” Hermione crowed. He snapped his head towards her. She smiled at him. “I’ve been trying to get your attention for a bit now. It’s beautiful isn’t it? The cool air, the warm sun, the peace? It’s my favorite part of the day. The royals aren’t up yet. To answer your question, it's about five in the morning. The sun wakes us every day, we bathe, we dress, we do our morning chores, and then we eat.” Harry looked at her incredulously.
“You do all of that work before you eat?” He asked. She nodded.
“It’s to help control your hunger, you become hungry at a certain time every day, or at least your stomach will be able to withstand the loss of certain meals, due to overtime work. We finish our day at whatever time we are given. My Lady lets me off work at 9PM each day. Yesterday was different, because you were found.” Hermione explained. Harry nods, his mind swimming with new information.
“Oh! That’s right. How’s your back?” Harry asked her. She hugged herself and smiled lightly at him. She walked over to a closet and grabbed a broom and dust pan. She handed him a broom.
“Ron helped me re-bandage it this morning, it’ll heal. The castle has three floors, plus the dungeons. We don’t clean the dungeons. First, we sweep the floors of every room.. Then, we wash them with bucket and rag. Next we clean the windows, borrow a ladder from the garden, make sure it’s clean, we don’t want to dirty the floors again. After the windows are cleaned, it should be time for breakfast, we go to the kitchen and ask the elves to prepare breakfast. You will help me set the table, and wake the Queen. Ron’s is the manservant for the King, but you are shadowing me today. Is everything clear?” Hermione rattled off to him. Harry nodded, and his stomach grumbled. He had a long day ahead of him. With that, Hermione took off down the hall with her dust pan and broom.
“Why are we going to the end of the hall?” He asked her. She waved at him to come with her, so he ran after her, down the hall.
“I find it best to start on the end where the stairs are not, so that when you work your way over, we can go straight up the stairs. I have a system. If Queen Narcissa decides to keep you, which I hope she does, she’ll give you your own assignments, and you can clean how you want.” Hermione smiled. She seemed to do a lot of smiling, for having just been tortured the night before. Harry guessed it must’ve had something to do with Ron.
Harry sighed and began sweeping the floor, he created a pile of dust, amazed that so much dirt can accumulate after only one day. Just what went on in this castle? It felt like hours before they finished the first floor. Harry was focused on his work until Hermione start humming, and he turned to look at her when he noticed a boy around his age walking down the hall.
Harry about dropped his broom, as the boy passed through the light shining through the windows. The green light hit the boy’s blonde hair, as the red and yellows and blues passed over his thin frame. He was in a dark suit, walking towards the throne room. The boy turned to look at him, their eyes met, and for a split second Harry found him to be the most beautiful thing he’d ever seen. The boy turned his gaze back to the Throne room, as he walked into it.
Harry was at a loss for words, he’d stopped sweeping and had blatantly stared at the blonde boy. He turned to Hermione who was humming to herself a little further down the hall. She didn’t seem to have seen the boy, but Harry wanted to know who the bloody hell he was.
Harry felt like he was about to collapse by the time they finished cleaning the castle. Hermione had sent him down to the kitchen to tell the elves to make breakfast for the masters. He was on his way back up to the second floor to set the table for breakfast. It had felt like an entire day had passed, but it had only been a few hours, Harry wanted to sleep, eat, something.
He stood back with Hermione and Ron, who’d appeared from his own duties. The King walked in and sat down at the long table, the Queen following right behind him. That’s when Harry noticed the third place setting. He hadn’t even thought about it when Hermione told him to make three place settings. He was about to ask Hermione when the boy walked into the room. His eyes widened and his mouth dropped open slightly.
The boy demanded so much attention, just by his walk. He looked over at the servants and smirked. Harry felt a shudder go through him. Such a beautiful boy, with such a terrifying smile. He looked over to Hermione who covered her stomach with an arm and stared at the floor. Ron held her gently, his arm behind her back. Harry’s eyes widened, and he looked back at the boy. The boy grinned at him, his eyes flaring with pride, before going to his seat at the table.
“Leave us!” King Malfoy shouted. Harry jumped at his booming voice, and left the room with Hermione and Ron. As soon as they were outside the door, Harry let loose.
“Who in the bloody hell is that?” Harry exclaimed. Hermione looked at him in shock. Ron grabbed Harry by his shirt and threw him away from the door.
“Shh, Harry!” Ron hissed. Hermione glared at both of the boys. Harry just stared at them, confused. “You can’t talk like that, not near them. They’ll kill you, you understand that?” Ron hissed at him. Hermione turned to Harry,
“That was Draco Malfoy, Prince Draco Malfoy.” Hermione whispered. “He’s vile, and cruel, and his last servant committed suicide just two weeks after she was assigned to him. He loves no one, he’s never even shown interest in the princesses who visit. The only people he shows any sort of love or care for, are his parents. Every scar I have, Ron has, any of the other servants? They’re all from him. He’s a sadistic bastard, and I fear for any servant who has to care for him.”
Harry’s heart sank into his stomach as he heard the anger and fear in her voice. Ron touched Hermione’s arm gently, and she looked up at him. She smiled sadly, and turned away from the boys. Harry looked at the closed door behind him. His eyes widened as Draco walked out of the room, slamming the doors open. He smirked at Harry, and walked past them down the hall. Harry’s heart seized as Hermione gripped his arm.
Ron and Harry cleaned the table, while Hermione left with the Queen to organize an outfit for an outing with her sister. While Harry gathered up the plates, Ron gathered the silverware and wiped down the table.
“Do you have a problem with me?” Harry asked Ron. Ron looked up at him. He shook his head and walked with harry to the kitchen.
“No mate, I’m just used to it only being me and ‘Mione. I’m not used to having another bloke around. Before you, it was Myrtle, but as ‘Mione said before, Myrtle committed suicide two weeks after.” Ron sighed. “You hungry?”
Harry chuckled and nodded. He and Ron walked out of the kitchen and turned the corner only to run into Hermione and Queen Narcissa. They both stopped and bowed.
“You boy, come with me.” The Queen ordered. Harry scurried after her, followed by the other worried servants. The Queen grabbed him and tossed him to the floor in the Throne Room. He landed with a grunt. “Stand up.”
Harry scrambled to his feet, and stood facing the Queen. The King walked into the room as well, followed by Draco. Hermione and Ron entered the room after him, and shut the door.
“I have to say Miss Granger. You made quick work of him, he’ll make a good servant yet.” Queen Narcissa nodded towards Hermione. Hermione smiled and bowed. Queen Narcissa turned back to Harry. “She really did do good. You’re a quick learner, we need more servants like you.”
Harry bowed to her, and looked past her to the King, who sat smugly in his throne. Harry closed his eyes for a moment, and breathed in deeply. His heart was racing. He could feel everyone’s eyes on him as Queen Narcissa continued talking.
“As for your judgement Potter,” She started, and Harry opened his eyes to look at her again. “You’re now assigned as the personal manservant for my son, Prince Draco Malfoy.”
Harry’s eyes widened, and he heard Hermione gasp behind him. Everything went silent as he made eye contact with cold grey eyes. A shiver rolled down his spine as a smirk formed on the blonde’s lips. Draco rolled his tongue over his lips, and bit his bottom lip, before smiling at his new servant.
Harry turned around and stared wide-eyed at Hermione, whose back was blistering and scabbing over with dried blood from the torture Draco put her through. Hermione who was sobbing silently out of absolute fear for the boy she tried so desperately to save. Ron held her tightly, and he shook his head in sorrow for Harry. Why? Harry thought to himself. Why had he come to Hogwarts?